Tuesday 23 May 2023

Old Collection, 'new rules' (ACW 15mm)

Years ago we lived in a apartment condo during an occurrence of many fires damaging suites, I told The Wife that should we encounter such an emergency to grab the two large duffel bags of my 15mm ACW and throw them off our second story balcony.  Her “what about the wedding photos?!” was dismissed.  Priorities you know…..

But yes, this was, and still is one of my favourite my wargame collections.  Not having brought it out of the bags for many years, I decided to layout my terrain to see what was still needed. In a rather interesting coincidence KevinA emails me that very day with his new ideas for averaging the huge swing the Fire and Fury ACW Rules d10 rolls can produce.  I was intrigued and so with terrain already in place, PeterM joined us as the Union defender against KevinA’s Reb attack. The existing charts using the ‘weird’ d3s, low-average dice, and troop quality modifiers had the game move along in a more realistic manner rather than the ‘I have all the advantages but you rolled a bleeping 10 to my only a 1!!’ situations were avoided.  Leaving the terrain on the table (how real life can get in the way) we played a second, continuing scenario with Craig joining us as "Stonewall" using more of the table for a good game.

(for the record, I decided require better fields but have enough trees. I used only 1.5 of 3 boxes.  One does need many trees for a 19th C. American battlefield.)

The table set up including the fun little additions in my collection including an observation tower (center), and balloon (right center) and solid wood buildings and fences.  Must get some more farm animals; the sheep (lower center) gives a cute accompaniment.

Tuesday 9 May 2023

while in the Canadian 'West'....

 Well, the Lardies are at it again with a new rule set with "What a Cowboy!".  Not surprising given the title, it is a variation on the popular "What a Tanker!" style of rules.  As the original set has been popular, WillB, invited GordC, CraigM, and myself (to complete the alphabetization, DougH if you haven't already known) to a game set in the Canadian frontier during the same time as the ubiquitous "wild west" was occurring in the United States. Rather than sheriffs, marshals, or rangers, we had the NWMP, the North West Mounted Police, which handled the duties in the western part of the country.  By the turn of the century it will merge with the police forces of most of the eastern provinces to form the famous Royal Canadian Mounted Police. [ as an aside, they recently provided King Charles with one of their specially bred black horses ]

WillB's scenario had the boys in red serge defending a trapper previously arrested from a rescue party of friends. The action can be seen on WillB's blog link . 

GordC and myself did the service proud as our policemen successfully defended the accused - and ourselves truth be told as the trappers did not care about the welfare of our boys in red - and shot two of the scoundrels at which point the others, and presumably the moose, left in haste.  

Sgt. King uses a chair as cover while waiting for other trappers to come into line of sight. One of the trappers is already dead near the creek.

Constable Fraser doing stellar service with his pistol. His slight flesh wound would be only any of the Mounties would take during the game.  Figures and terrain by the host WillB.

We were all very pleased about the rules and thinking it was a better "feel" than its WaT 'father'.  In other words, the action dice worked much better as an individual skirmish game than a tank command surprisingly.  As many of us have MANY different gunslinger shootist rules and had no satisfaction with any (I have one which is some 86 pages long!), and being a style to which we are very familiar we picked up on this quickly.  While we did keep it simple for our first go at it, we did have a "Bonanza" occurrence, an allowance to break the current players turn to do an abbreviated action which is a neat twist.... my Sgt. King character used it to put a lucky hole into one of the trappers with his winchester rifle).  The rules have many more additions for characterization (and role-playing...) and as many of tabletop games now are getting smaller and, frankly, shorter in duration, this style of game will be popular.  

*No disclaimer about a paid advertisement will be made.....

Tuesday 11 April 2023

new Napoleonic "reinforcements"

 While I would love to add these to my beleaguered Russian Napoleonic army as reinforcements in the current campaign I am engaged in, they will need to wait for later games,  but do form the basis of Baggovout's Corps at Borodino.  While the Russian infantry uniform had possibly only the shoulder strap color as the only major difference between regiments, the flag design is the main feature denote his formation's regiments (for those regiments of mine which are lucky enough to gain a flag if I have one available!).  Each of these stands represent a brigade and are represented by one of the regiments within that formation. 

The French of the Russian Campaign also gain reinforcements in the form of the red-coated Swiss of Oudinot's Corps, which, while it did not fight at Borodino, I did as I love the color red and they have been on the bucket list to paint.  The Perry pamphlet enclosed in their earlier war uniform plastics box is an excellent reference source.  Each of the Swiss regiments had a slight difference in dress, not only in the facing color but of the different plumes and distinctions of their voltigeurs and grenadiers to make painting interesting (and longer).  The pamphlet also has information on many of the other nations and French formations wearing the open lapel tunic including the Italians, white-coated French regiments, the Paris Guard in Spain among others as well as flags for many regiments. Even if you don't do plastics, ask for the sheets from a friend who does!

Sunday 9 April 2023

an Austro-Hungarian Landwehr action

Brought out my only "Austrian" Napoleonics for a quick solo game,  The "Hungarian Militia" are now sporting proper shakos while their former headdress of corsehuts hats now are adorned by the "Austrian Landwehr" wearing grey uniforms. The scenario was simply to have the French get to the brewery, load up the wagon full of beer and get back down one of the roads. The Austro-Hungarians were to approach from the east to stop them from doing so.

They are up against my dismounted French Dragoons.  I wanted to use the dragoons on the table as I recently added a horse-holder group from Brigade Games.  As not sure of the compatibility with the existing Perrys ordered only one group; and while the uniforms are early vs late war, the sizing is close.  

The discouraged French dismounted dragoons (indicated by the newly dug grave marker!). Showing the Brigade Games horse-holders 

The rules I made up on the fly, were a simple 6+ activation with 6s hitting or combat, with units in cover needing an extra hit to kill and the Landwehr in close order 5,6 =hit in close combat.  This simple system worked well as I couldn't be bothered to put down my beer to find the proper rules. 

The confident French marched from the west while the sweeping advance through the woods on horse quickly stalled from good musket fire from the Hungarian militia along the wicker fence line forcing them off their horses and into cover. There they would remain pinned.

The other south unit of  Hungarian militia also kept the French elite company pinned. The Landwehr urged on by their aggressive officer on horse, moved down the road from the east in close order (their permanent formation as I have the miniatures in very close together on their bases!) to charge into the dismounted dragoons and put them into flight.  The other French lost heart and the Austro-Hungarians celebrated a grand victory. 

As it was the Austrian Landwehr unit's first battle being newly recruited and all ( in other words: painted), it was indeed a surprising outcome.

Austrian Landwehr in close order down the road. "Victory is at hand!"

Algerie 1834

For the French Zouave Player:

You are Lt. Hans Neinschiese of the 2e Zouaves.  Due to Berber activity and lack of ammunition and food, you were forced to abandon your outpost and make a move down the valley to the safety of the fort but were halted at this small village of El Nowar.  You had a volunteer with a message of your plight go to the fort but chances were slim of his success, however you hear the sounds of gunfire indicating help is on its way.

You may have limited action however due to your fatigued state of your men and their lack of ammuntion.  Thus you activate any moves with an additional +2 on the dice; can only fire on a successful activation four times; and cannot activate any charges.  If on the path, you gain 4” of movement.

Units within the baseboard perimeter of the town offers an additional stamina point.

The game to last to “night fall” The French must either have all units move back to the start point of the FFLor all units must be within the perimeter of the village for safety.


The Zouaves in the village.  The rather crude buildings made from cork sheets.

For the French Foreign Legion Player:

You are Capt. Francois D’Mathie of the 2e ER.  A bedraggled volunteer of the 2e Zouaves , has given a message of the plight of a contingent overwhelmed at the El Nowar outpost and the commander has tasked you to offer a rescue.  You are to take 2 companies and a train of ammunition and food up the valley.  You must link up with the Legionaries and return with them. 

You have 6 rounds of ammuntion per unit. While designated for the rescued, you can break open the ammuntion boxes of the mule train for up to an additional 12 rounds of ammunition.  The unit resupplied must be adjacent to the mule train to be re-supplied.  

The wagon has the food for the rescued and must be protected.

If on the path, you gain 4” of movement 

Having much elan, your Legionnaires can activate charges against known Berber positions with an additional +2 modifier on your roll. 

The game to last to “night fall” The French must either have all units move back to the start point of the FFL or all units must be within the perimeter of the village for safety.


Using TMWWBK rules, KevinA, PeterM and myself as the Berber leader 'I Bin a Badhi' gave my French of Algeria 1834 a go.  The French in 1830, still uniformed much as they had in the Napoleonic wars, sought to colonize the north coast of Africa and fighting practically never ceased until 1964 when finally relinquishing control.  Early on the French incorporated native elements but the Zouave contingent soon became primarily European in nature but still retaining the native dress which soon would become so beloved by American volunteer units in their civil war. As this is the early years of the occupation, I employed Victrix greatcoat plastics with modifications to show the Foreign Legion uniform before 1840 at which the belly box was in vogue and thus lack of crossbelts would render these figures out of date.  
While I do have some Berber type figures on foot for use against my other 1920's style Legionnaires, I have not gained any appropriate types and so use hidden markers.  They activate as usual to fire but do not move. If attacked, a dice roll determines if they stay and fight, or evaporate off the table.
The Legionnaries Grenadier company (top) and Voltigeur company (bottom).  At this early stage, French still had differing companies within the battalion and so coloured epaulettes.

Smoke from the 'shrubbery' has a small group of hidden native musketeers firing at the grenadiers. 

The small groups of hidden Berbers in this game had the French stymied and hard pressed to stave off disaster.  

"Battle of Pont Heinz"

 The battle is named for the bridge in box 57 of the campaign map in Peter's 'One Week Campaign' Napoleonic clash with Craig taking the French, while allies KevinA takes my Prusssians and I control the Russians (combined as the "Ussians").  This was the first and so far largest of the clashes which had high hopes for the Russian commander to pincer and destroy the bridgehead over the border river made by the French Guard and Ney's French Corps.  

While very familiar with these rules (as I helped to create them...), I have no command success with them, having a combination of, let us say, no subtlety in my tactics and bad rolling with the dice. "If I didn't have bad luck, I wouldn't have any luck at all!"  Needless to say, with the good management of his forces, including having Poniatowski's Polish Corps come to flank my left hook by Tuchov, and having all my artillery eliminated by the accurate French counter battery fire, the Russian heavy horse broken apart and my infantry thrust to the bridge halted, essentially the Russian army was destroyed on the first day.

Poniatowski's Polish made from Muraski Miniatures and Victrix greatcoat plastics with 'campaign' caps from their Guard Lancers pack. I also created a French uniformed Polish brigade with brown trousers and white cap covers as the 4th, 7th, and 9th Polish infantry regiments were recalled from Spain to form a brigade in the 1812 Russian invasion.  The leader himself is a partial creation by me, as are the hussars in the back. 

Peter uses coloured discs to denote losses either permanent (reds) or temporary for Campaign purposes (blues) which can be recovered thereby allowing forces to be available albeit weakened for later engagements. 

However, I still had my 'end-around' attack in which I send Borozdin's Corps on a roundabout two day journey to attack the French capital from the north.  Strategically I was hoping to either a) take his capital by surprise,  b) capture and hold a town for campaign points or c) and, more likely, have some of Craig's reserve formations move away from the Prussians there by allowing Prussian success in the main theatre of action.  This plan worked too well as the French moved Milhaud's Heavy Cavalry Corps and the Imperial Guard Horse (!) against me. While holding off directly attacking me during the latter part of day two at the important French crossroads town, his horse artillery was active while all I could do is form a defensive perimeter maneuvering slowly as my die rolling (of course!) was always low to prevent too much activity - blame it on bad Russian staff work?  

Craig also cleverly moved the Italian Corps onto my rear in the morning of the 'next day', cutting off supplies (thus my important ability to recoup attrition losses) thereby completely destroying the surrounded Russians.  While the strategic goal was only partially achieved having some of the Italians hurt, so ended the Battle of Quartre Jambre.  

The campaign continues with the Prussians engaging the French

Thursday 9 March 2023

Not everyone is in scarlet...

 While most of the British full-dress uniform of the Victorian era was scarlet, not all units were thus dressed and the rifle units wear a dark-green, almost black, dress uniform. The Canadian militia, closely following the home-country's example, would wear their parade ground attire, having no other, onto the Canadian Prairies for the Northwest Rebellion campaign in 1885.  These riflemen are my conversions from Perry plastic Union American Civil War miniatures with mostly just a head change using the Perry 'Home Service' helmets or creating glengarries from green-stuff.  The bases are made from a home-made styrene sheet from empty sprues melted in acetone. The log marker, also on one of these home-made bases, indicates the "suppressed" status for the unit.  It is still a visible reminder for the players, yet blending into the terrain.

In the background is a dice tray created specifically for the collection as it matches the terrain mat. It looks inconspicuous on the tabletop hiding as a field.  

Tuesday 7 March 2023

Painting style changes

Like your choice in clothing, hair style, heck, even type of underwear, your style of painting can change over time. The latest new army I painted is a "Anglo-Saxon" Dark Age. With all the hype for contrast paints recently,  I went that route but even more so in just using inks to do the job. I primered light grey, dry-brushed heavily in white then applied the inks. 
deployed for action in a recent game at a fellow gamers house.

The figures are Old Glory 28mm (love em or hate them...) which I picked up on a good sale and which provided a 24 point Lion Rampant "task force". Thinking of the printer ink cartridge concept of using only blue, yellow and red colors which, when mixed can provide most colors one would want (yes, yes, excepting white which, would be limited in the dark ages - pun intended or not...) I went about as quick as possible to create this tabletop collection. From primer to completion of basing was only 10.5 hours so c.10 minutes a figure. As this is not my usual wargaming era, so not that much wasted time completing this collection. However, I very much like the effect, and while not my usual style, my "contrast style" works with these figures quite nicely I think. 

With the idea of new styles of painting, I took a picture of some of my very first wargame figures I painted including a Minifig 25mm Duchy of Nassau (Napoleonic) of 1976 and a 25mm Minifig Parthian in the glorious gloss c1981. You can contrast these to current figures in my collections seen below in a recent game. 

As my eyesight goes, I will probably be more and more careless about the preciseness of it all and go for the easiest of styles, but it is interesting that there is quite a few different ways to paint the little buggers.....

Monday 20 February 2023

Alamo - a scenario everyone knows

The Alamo.  Everyone has heard of it.  Famous enough that Tom Hanks in "Saving Private Ryan" can say it and the movie makers didn't even feel compelled to explain its meaning.  Modern Texans, and indeed all Americans flock to its remnants with the feeling it was a significant victory.  It was not...well for the Texicans anyway.  And when you are to enjoy playing the game and become the defenders, you know what the expected end will be.  

Nate's very nice and practical home-made model in 15mm.

I took a road trip to Vancouver Island and had a great Alamo game hosted by NateS.  DavidB who graciously provided my room and board, was my fellow Texican. Nate's very nice model of the Alamo made from solid wood and foamcore in 15mm scale formed the excellent backdrop to the thinly distributed defenders. 

Mexicans over the wall!

The rules were nice and 'convention' simple but did allow the Texicans to shoot better but allowed the Mexicans better melee factor - when they finally could come to grips.  The superior numbers of the Mexicans finally pushed the Texicans off the walls and into the compound which sealed their fate. DavidB and I could claim a 'moral victory' by eliminating 2/3 the Mexican assault force, at approximately a 2:1 ratio.  Wargaming is one of those activities that, when even losing, you can have great fun and enjoyment...but still cursing the dice, of course!

"Well, gal' dern it!"  The last of the Texicans.

Monday 6 February 2023

Nest hunting on Folium III

 Yeah, OK, a Xenos Rampant game using ex-GW plastic Catachans as "Palaeoeversors" (my very poor Latin of "Old Thing Killers" [as in Palaeolithic as the Raptors being Hollywood dinosaurs and all...] ) with blue skin verses Wizkids Raptors.  Think aqua-tinted Schwarzenegger-ian Commandos with big guns in Jurassic Park.  These rather silly GW plastics were, unbeknown to me, on the bottom of an inexpensive box of Bring-and-Buy Zulus(!). Once discovered would be built but ultimately unpainted until recently, brought to life by these new rule's possibilities and a new contrast painting style.

The "Palaeoeversors" were painted, for me, in a new technique Contrast-ish using inks which proved relatively fast and effective. Much different from my usual style. Teaching an old doug new tricks? (I state somewhat reluctantly:  see previous post for closer views)

The game went surprisingly well as the players using my 'Blue Boys' expressed doubt as to their success early in the game.  Despite big losses, the two friends finally co-operated and realized that firepower was the key... after discovering that the Raptors needed to go into line of sight BEFORE activating to Wild Charge the next turn. This allowed a turn of fire before the Raptor's claws could do some severe damage [with their activation roll requirements of course!]. The Paleoeversors managed to gain the objective of eliminating a Raptor nest AND taking out all four Raptors. While it was certainly a Pyrrhic victory, it was a close run thing.

Saturday 28 January 2023

Various Games

This post is a bit of a photo summary of the various collections and play in the past while. ("various" is a definite theme of my hobby) .


A practice game for the boys as we set up for a “One Week Campaign”.  This was a 1805 scenario from a Shako rules scenario book but readily enough converted to our home-brew set.  It was fought over the holidays period during a day our gaming group all had available.

Prussians advance

overview of the battle with French in the distance holding off the Coalition forces waiting for the Italians to come in from the flank but across a river and through a woods

Italians make their way encouraged by the commander. The small black dice represent current combat strength.

A Canadian Affair:

Not really noted for armed conflict fought on its own soil, Canada did have the Northwest Rebellion during 1885. Certainly not much of an affair, but does offer inspiration for small skirmish scenarios.  That the rebellious Metis and native Cree choose set piece battles obviously outnumbered by the Canadian Militia forces rather than ambush and hit-and-run is interesting. Solo play using “The Men Who Would Be Kings” rules with half-ish unit sizes - usually the Metis have no figures on the table at all. (as I don't have any...)

Canadian militia advance upon a suspected Metis position across the creek.  (Perry ACW plastics mostly with new headdress additions - either their Home Service helmets or my 'green-stuff' glengarries.

Northwest Mounted Police in 'full dress', cross the stream on the dry open prairie.  Perry ACW plastic cavalry converted with new arms, heads and detailing.

Sinai, 1956:

Result of an estate sale, I came in possession of 15mm T-34s and Shermans. I have no other armour of that scale and those two particular model of tanks did not fight each other during WW2….but I did discover that during the Suez Crisis, clashes occurred between Egyptian and Israeli forces using those respective vehicles. Using “What a Tanker” rules.  

Egyptian and Israeli tank forces clash near a Sinai village. The destroyed Sherman is a result of my putting on the two-part tracks incorrectly.  By the time I discovered my error the glued had melded the parts together as to create too much damage while trying to pull them apart; thus INCREASED the damage to create this terrain obstacle.

The fingers are handling my conversion of a straight up Sherman into the Israeli M-50 (Super Sherman)
I used the WW2 "Sherman Firefly" stats which I think replicate the power of the gun for the game.
Noticeably in WaT, tabletop distances between tanks become very close indeed.(note my Israeli tank colour is much less green than my camera would suggest!) 

“On Folium III”  

On a distance verdant planet, humaniods long exposed to an enzyme which turns the skin a blue hue and creates over-developed muscles, fight ‘Raptors’ a reptilian species especially deadly and aggressive. Think: Schwarzenegger as a “Rouge Trooper” in Jurassic Park.

Using new “Xenos Rampant” rules. 

old style 40K "Catachans" recently painted using inks. 

"Oh sh@t!  Where did she come from!" Raptor by Wizkids.  Some time ago I bought 2 packs of these (4 models) as they are VERY nice models BUT had no idea what I was to do with them! However in Xenos Rampant these four can form a potent 'detachment' or table-top force of 24 points by themselves!  

“The ‘Incident’ at the Outpost near Plotnaty”

During sometime in the future, the U.N. was allowed to set up observation posts in the Donbas Region.  But this peace was quickly swept away as the outpost of U.N. blue-clad soldiers were attacked by “Russian” forces.  Used the new “Xenos Rampant” rules.  The “neo-Russian”/old 40K Valhallans mortars (artillery) proved exceedingly (too) powerful but the rest works fairly well.  

After-action photo as,  in the game, the "Russian" units did not need to close assault the outpost. Old-time Valhallan 40K figures painted by me A LONG TIME AGO.

The outpost. My scenario had the three U.N. units randomly placed at tents around the fortified position so not to immediately be in position and so must activate to move or shoot.  However the rule modifications I added gave them no cover at all to oncoming artillery rounds within the outpost and so the bright blue troopers died (too) quickly.  The "U.N Troopers" are old GW Imperial Guard Cadians with symbols removed and given the characteristic United Nations bright colour with camo uniforms.  I gained these, in this case, from the local club's Door Prize winning ticket but had, at the time no need for them nor any want to expand upon them.  Having seen a photo of U.N. troops, I thought to use them as a very small, under armed (no heavy weapons) contingent. They had been sitting, thus painted, in the box for years.  Now with Xenos Rampant I can use them as a complete force.

While not used in the game, I have two fighting vehicles for the Valhallans/Neo-Russians in the form of two 1:35 scale WW2 KVs modified with the ridiculously oversized 40K weaponry.  In this case, should I ever play old style 40K I could use them as a Leman Russ and Chimera respectively.  They are given a sloppy covering of whitewash in keeping with the winter Russian-y theme.

Saturday 17 December 2022

Terrain up

 When asking "What have you been up to?" to the wargamer, the inference is usually "What have you been painting?"  And fair enough, as that is the big chore for most miniature wargamers. But I have tried in the past while to work on the terrain aspect of the tabletop.  Using some lightweight but very sturdy poster boards which seem not to warp with water/drying, I can apply terrain in large areas. Thus I can indulge in creating mini terrain boards of building complexes or fields.

As with the recent posts I usually scratch build out of whatever material is at hand.  Foamcore and coffee stir-sticks are my go-to from which I built a farm house and put together with a small sample of rather realistic looking astro-turf as a crop.

The field utilized some of the "straw" fences previously built but as they were very susceptible to knock over or damage, added them permanently to a layer of plaster for a medieval/renaissance field.

These took the afternoon to accomplish while I listened to wargamer podcasts some of which content complained about the lack of "appropriate" terrain on the average tabletop!

Finally over the week or so, needed some added "jungle" for placement on jungle-print neoprene mats bought a while back.  Not really sure I like the look of the printed mats and they certainly look worse in the photos.  The jungle is, of course, the every popular aquarium plastic plants which were embedded in leftover chunks of styrofoam covered by ground up natural lichen and moss.  As the weather is rather not conducive to the spraying of matt greens to lessen the 'glossy effect' of the plastic, that must wait til spring. 

Poor 'Ieko' with his lunge-mine chasing an Australian Matilda tank somewhere in South-East Asia. While he did manage to hit the tank, he did no damage to the tank...but of himself?...say no more...
The leafy print on the mat is over-scale and not that convincing.  I might sell the mat and just build more jungle.

Again poor "Ieko" this time exposing himself to the rifle fire from the accompanying Australian infantry  - in the background - during the second game with the boys on Friday night. The first rifle bullet put a big hole in his shoulder, the second mortally.  The jungle bits look a bit better in this angle. The non-commercial made body of water was purchased at a convention years ago forms a very nice terrain piece. This open ground allowed for "Joey's" fine shooting. - a rare night of good dice rolls by me!